Why Did We Choose to Homeschool?

The fact that Georgia is 31st in the nation for education was not our only reason…  It is way more complicated.  We have 10 year old twin sons.  They went to a church preschool, then to a public charter school here in Metro Atlanta.  We had high hopes that our boys would go to school and everything would be simple and clear cut…

We had researched all the “good” schools extensively in our area.  All would have been perfect if my boys had fit the mold.  Being naïve new parents we had no idea what we were in for.  Our sons were constantly being called out in Preschool.  We had numerous meetings, phone calls, and notes from the Preschool Director and the teachers.  We were posed with dilemmas such as “Your twins will not sit still during circle time” (at age 3 mind you).  “Your boys are not interested in “learning”. “Your 4 year old son cannot say the Alphabet consistently and can’t read any of the sight words that we have provided”.    “Your boys are very active, and immature, I don’t think they are ready to be in Kindergarten.”

I should have taken my brother’s advice for what came next.  He and his wife had been homeschooling their son for several years.  He tried his best to convince me to homeschool when we were going through the process of what elementary school would be the best for our boys. When he suggested it to me, I literally laughed and said “are you insane, I could never do that with twin boys!”  Being the kind guy that he is, he responded without an ounce of sarcasm “that Duggar lady (from 19 kids and counting) can do it.”  I chuckled and said “yeah, but have you seen her hair?”  Not the first or last time I have eaten crow.  After vehemently denying homeschool as an option, we went for “greener pastures” at a metro area charter school that had very impressive stats.  I joined the PVO (Parent Volunteer Organization) before my boys even walked in the door.  I was that mom…   I wanted to have insight to what was going on at the school, to know the administration in case my boys needed assistance ,and lastly to make their elementary experience as fun as mine had been.
Unfortunately our boys were having the same difficulties they had at preschool shortly after we started.  In first grade we had both boys tested for ADHD and one evaluated for learning differences.  After both were diagnosed with ADHD and one of them with other learning differences we decided that “regular” school was not going to cut it.  We looked at every private school in Atlanta that would provide the right services for our children.  While there were many that would have been wonderful, unfortunately all of this wonderful comes with a price and a decision to remediate or not.  Remediation is the route most private schools go with.  This is used to assist students to “better fit in the box”.  They go for a few years and then are released into “regular” schools.  While I have no judgment on parents that pick that route, is not what we wanted for our kids.  We think they are pretty special and don’t want them to fit in anyone’s mold.  Another worry was, if we had placed them in private school, I would have needed to go back to work.  Had I gone back to work I would no longer have the insight to my boys’ educational challenges.  The whole time we looked a poignant statement ran through my mind.  When my boys were three, I was a member of a Church affliliated mom’s group that brought in speakers from metro area private schools.  Each school speaker discussed all the wonderful things going on at their private campuses.  One speaker really stood out.  She was a representative for a hybrid homeschool.  She spoke of the experiences she had and said “No one knows your child like you, no one knows what your child needs more than you”.  Finally I gave to the advice and offered to homeschool for a year and see where it took us.  Here we are today, still homeschooling and planning on it for next year.  Don’t get me wrong, this year has not all been “unicorns and rainbows”, but I assure you the positives out weigh the negatives.  The wrenching feeling that I had in my gut from age 3 to 1st grade is long gone.